General Government

Introduction

In fiscal 1992, Texas state government spent nearly 5 percent of its total revenues, or more than $1.4 billion, on general government functions, which include nearly a hundred state agencies, including the Governor s office, legislative and judicial agencies and agencies that provide administrative support to government, such as the Comptroller s office, the State Treasury and the Attorney General s office.

The general government function also includes more than 40 regulatory agencies, including the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Public Utilities Commission.

One of TPR s major concerns in this area was to create an efficient and cost-effective central business manager for state government. To further this goal, a series of recommendations in this section would expand the mission and resources of the General Se rvices Commission (GSC). In connection with this, TPR recommends that Texas Surp lus Property Board be transferred into GSC, along with the administrative functions of the State Preservation Board, which oversees the State Capitol, the old General Land Office Building and their grounds.

The sheer number of agencies in the general government function present other opportunities for consolidation. The functions of the State Banking Board, for instance, could easily be transferred to the Finance Commission s Commissioner of Banking, and the Texas Public Finance Authority merged with the Bond Review Board. Similarly, TPR recommends that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission be abolished and its administrative functions assumed by the Comptroller s office and the Department of Public Safety. TPR also proposes that Texas follow the lead of a number of other states and consolidate the gambling regulatory functions of the Comptroller (lottery), Texas Racing Commission (pari-mutuel racing) and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (bingo) into a single Texas Gaming Commission.

This section also contains a number of specific technical changes to the state s tax code, such as increased enforcement fees, changes in the way taxes are remitted, eliminations or reductions in tax discounts and delays in allocations.

In all, TPR s recommendations for general government would increase the amount available for certification under the Comptroller s revenue estimate by more than $1.2 billion in fiscal 1994-95, and would reduce state employment by 20 positions. Dedicated state accounts and funds would undergo a loss of $302 million, primarily due to shifts in funding to the General Revenue Fund.

Over the next five years (1994-1998), these recommendations would save the state nearly $1.7 billion. Texas dedicated accounts and funds would gain about $202 million. The state s work force would be reduced by nearly 50 positions.